Zooarchaeology by Mass Spectrometry (ZooMS) Guest Speaker

Hello everyone and welcome back from Winter Break! This semester we have an exciting lineup of blog posts and colloquiums featuring many students from our graduate program. Throughout the next few weeks, blogs will be posted to highlight students working on their thesis and the work they are doing. There will also be posts checking in with students who recently graduated with an update on where they are now. This semester’s posts will also feature plenty of conferences and the students who attend and present at them. So thank you for reading, and look forward to more content coming next week. Now, to officially kick off this semester, we had a guest speaker who explained her work of Zooarchaeology by Mass Spectrometry (ZooMS).

Dr. Anneke Janzen is from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Department of Anthropology. She gave us a presentation this past Monday called “New Identificant of Old Bones: Peptide Mass Fingerprinting in Archaeology”. In this talk, she explained what ZooMS is and how it can be used in Zooarchaeology to better identify taxa of animal bones, even when fragmented. This method works by extracting collagen from bone samples using HCl acid, which then has Trypsin added to it. This cleaves the bonds of the proteins in a known pattern, which can then be measured with MALDO-TOF MS. This reading can then be compared with a reference database of known animals, which they are still building.

This technique has many pros, including being extremely time and cost-effective. The entire process only takes around three days to complete and multiple samples can be done at once. It also has a relatively low cost, since it only costs as much as the consumables and the cost to run the samples on the machine, which is low if there is one in-house. It also works really well to get data from old and poorly preserved bone samples. The whole process only needs around 10 grams of bone per sample to work. It can also work when DNA is not present, so it can even work for really degraded samples as is often found in archaeology. This makes this method really good for collections where there are a lot of small and degraded bone fragments that cannot be analyzed morphologically.

This technique also has some cons, as it has issues identifying mammals, where the data cannot always get down to the species level. This means that some mammal species may only get down to something like equine instead of donkey or zebra. However, this also depends on where the work is being done and if there are a lot of closely related species in the region. Since some species are so closely related they may just show up the same. This is also hard to distinguish between domestic and wild animals that are living in the same area. However, for the most part, this is a good method for identifying species from a collection of animal bones.

Dr. Anneke Janzen gave us a fascinating talk on this method of identifying the species of bones from archaeological collections. We thank Dr. Anneke Janzen for making time to give us this talk and look forward to hearing more about this work and its implications for archaeology.

Archaeology Day 2023

Ethan Kish Welcoming People to Archaeology Day

Last weekend, Saturday, October 28th, 2023, was Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s Archaeology Open House to celebrate International Archaeology Day! This year’s Archaeology Day was a great success with a lot of amazing tables and a huge turnout! Thank you to all the graduate students who helped make the day a success, and to all the people who came to learn about archaeology! This year we had a total of 15 tables that represented different parts of archaeology, from fieldwork to 3D printing.

Connor Winslow at the Welcome/Exit table

The first tables were the entrance/exit tables run by Connor Winslow and Ethan Kish, both first-year graduate students in the Applied Archaeology program here at IUP. They were both set up to draw people in and give information about Archaeology Day to people first coming in or leaving. They also handed out our “passports”, which had the names of all the tables at Archaeology Day that people could get stickers for to get candy at the end. They also had evaluation forms for people to tell us how they thought we did, as well as additional information of archaeology and the anthropology program at IUP as a whole.

Elena Frye and Jennifer Ross at their 3D Printing Table

The next table was the 3D printing table run by Elena Frye and Jennifer Ross, who were there to give examples of the applications of 3D printing in archaeology. Elena had a 3D printer printing running during archaeology day, for people to watch it print a precontact PPK. She also had a variety of other points already printed on the table for people to match to their descriptions and names in an activity. This table was part of Elena’s thesis, which will be on using 3D printing as a teaching tool in archaeology. Jennifer ran the other side of the table, where she had 3D-printed human bones for people to interact with.

The next activity was the Kids Activity Room run by Rae Tuite and Dakota Dickerson. They had several activities for kids to enjoy, including Wampum beading and cave painting! Kids had the opportunity to make a beaded bracelet and put their handprints up on the wall, as well as put paper pieces of an archaeological dig kit together.

Wesley Nelson and Jiahan Liu at the Historic Collections Table

The next table was the Historic Collections table, led by Wesley Nelson and Jiahan Liu. They had out a variety of artifacts from our historic collections, from different types of ceramics to different types of glass bottles and metal artifacts. There was also an activity to reassemble broken ceramics, just as an archaeologist might do to reconstruct an excavated ceramic vessel. They would also explain different aspects of the historic artifacts they had out, as well as what historical archaeology was and what we can learn from it.

The next table was the combined zooarchaeology and hominin tables, run by Ty Linthicum, Emily Sykora, and Crimson Reid. They had out collections of animal skulls, as well as a collection of hominin skulls. People who came to their table would be able to guess the different kinds of animal skulls and learn what different skulls looked like. They would also be able to guess and learn about different hominin skulls. They also each answered questions people had about zooarchaeology and early hominins.

The next table is the precontact collections table run by Emma Kinsinger, who had out a variety of artifacts from our precontact collections. She had information on stone tools and how they were made, as well as what flakes could tell us. She also had a wide range of precontact artifacts she took people through and answered questions on precontact archaeology as a whole.

The next table is the PHAST table run by Elena Vories, who is the GA for the PHAST program, also known as the PennDOT Highway Archaeological Survey Team. She had a poster on PHAST, with pictures from surveys over this past summer and an activity to find all of the PHAST letters within the pictures. She would also explain what PHAST was and go through some of the projects she worked on.

Tyler Fanell and Nathan Coughlin at the Fieldwork Table

The next table is the Fieldwork table run by Tyler Fanell and Nathan Coughlin, both first year graduate students who have worked within CRM for multiple years. Their table had pictures from their various field surveys, as well as the field equipment they would use. They talked to people about CRM and what fieldwork is like. They would also go through different sites they had been to, as well as the field schools that IUP runs every summer. They also answered questions about fieldwork and how archaeological fieldwork is done.

The next table was the Floatation table run by Dion DeGarmo, who is the GA for the float lab this year. This table went through what floatation is and what it is looking for. This includes micro-artifacts and organics that can tell archaeologists things about what people were eating and what they were using different surfaces for. Dion also processed some samples in the floatation lab while people walked through so they could see the process and answered questions about the process.

Shannon Boyne and Isabel Srour at the Mock Excavation Table

The next table was the Geophysics table, run by Emma Lashley and Dr. William Chadwick. They had a variety of geophysical equipment out, such as the ground penetrating radar (GPR) and gradiometer. They also had processed GPR data out on the table from the historical field school, which showed the foundation of the hotel students have been excavating for a few summers. The data was both in vertical orientation, as well as 3D, so people could see what GPR anomalies look like after they are processed.

The next table was the mock excavation table run by Shannon Boyne and Isabel Srour, who had mapping and screening activities for people to try out. They had a mapping activity with a 50cm grid over some artifacts for people to draw onto a mapping form used in excavations. Then they had a screening activity where people could dump dirt into a screen and screen it to find artifacts (little toys) they could then bag and write an artifact tag for. This also taught people stewardship and the importance of properly recording and turning in artifacts.

The next table was flint knapping run by Susanne Haney, an Archaeologist for PennDOT and the manager for PHAST. She ran a flint knapping demonstration throughout archaeology day, as well as had multiple types of precontact artifacts for people to see. She answered questions about flint knapping and precontact technologies.

The Atlatl Throwing Activity

The last table was spear throwing, using an atlatl, run by two members of the community who own several atlatls and have even participated in National Atlatl throwing competitions. They had two targets out and two atlatls for people to try out. This is a type of precontact technology people would have used for hunting. This table was probably the biggest hit of Archaeology Day and a lot of people enjoyed throwing spears.

Overall, we would like to thank everyone who came once again, this day never would have been possible without everyone who helped out and who came willing to learn. Thank you everyone, and see you next year!

First Graduate Colloquium of the Semester: What We Did This Summer

Last Wednesday was our first Graduate Colloquium of the semester! IUP students travel all over the country, and even internationally, over summer break to participate in archaeological projects. This first colloquium is meant to highlight the scope of projects IUP archaeology graduate students participated in over the summer break. There were a total of 5 presentations on topics from cultural resource management to field schools.

Laura Broughton, a member of the second-year cohort, was the first presenter of the colloquium. She spent her summer working for Environmental Design and Research (EDR) as an archaeological field technician. Most of her summer was spent on wind and solar farms in upstate New York doing Phase IB surveys. She spent most of her time in corn fields digging round STP’s in a 15-meter grid within the survey areas. While she only found historic ceramic during the entirety of the project, she learned a lot and enjoyed the experience as a whole.

The next presenter was Nate Coughlin, a first-year graduate student who spent the last two years working for different CRM companies around the country. He gave his presentation on a site he worked on in South Dakota this past summer, where they found a lot of Native American effigies. He walked us through the effigies they found, and their interpretations of them, including one that was around 130 meters long and looked like a snake. He also described some of his time working in Vermont for the Northeast Archaeological Research Center.

The third presenter was Emma Lashley, a second-year graduate student and the GA for the Newport Field School at IUP this past summer. First, she went over her time at the Newport field school, which started by doing GPR and STP’s. They then targeted GPR anomalies found around the old hotel in the previous field school. She then took the Advanced Metal Detecting for Archaeologists (AMDA) class, an RPA-certified course run at Ft. Halifax. She used this knowledge to then run a metal detecting survey at the Newport Field School. She then worked for SEARCH for the rest of the summer. She was first sent to Texas during their heat wave, which she described as “very hot the whole time”. Then she was sent to Mississippi, which she described as swampy and mosquitos. Both of these projects were Phase IB surveys for pipelines. Finally, she was sent to Miami, a Phase III project of a large precontact site in downtown Miami. Most of this project was washing buckets of dirt to find all the artifacts and bones.

The next presenter was Elena Vories, a first-year graduate student in charge of the PennDOT Highway Archaeological Survey Team (PHAST), which partners with both IUP and PennDOT to complete Phase I surveys. She is in charge of everything for every Phase I project they do, from background research to artifact cleaning and report writing. She described multiple projects they did and the fun they had along the way.

The last presenters were Emily Sykora and Tyler Fanell, the GAs for the Forensic Archaeology Field School in Germany. Emily is a second-year graduate student and Tyler is a first-year graduate student. They described their mission to recover US service members from a B-17 plane crash from WWII in Germany but mostly went over the trips they went on with students over the course of the field school. They went to places like Heidelberg, the Black Forest, Nuremberg, Munich, and the Bavarian Alps.

Thank you to everyone who presented and attended! We had a great turnout!

ACRA Conference 2023

The 2023 ACRA Conference took place in Indianapolis, Indiana from September 7th to the 10th. This year several second-year graduate students taking Dr. Chadwick’s CRM II class were able to attend the conference. The conference held a total of fourteen sessions, with seven on September 8th and seven on September 9th. The topics ranged from discussions of SOI standards to the role of Artificial Intelligence in CRM. Other than the sessions, students were able to participate in a mentor luncheon, where three CRM professionals took a student to lunch. Thanks to the lunch students were not only able to network but were also able to learn more about CRM by asking questions. The students that went are all very thankful to those who took them to lunch, as well as thankful for the opportunity from IUP, who paid for the entire trip.

The first session at ACRA was an opening remark from the former Miami THPO, Diane Hunter. She told the story of her tribe, from their origin in Indiana to where they are now. This session gave a lot of insight into the region where the conference took place and the history of the people who lived there. Her talk also included the role of THPO’s and the value of consultation.

The second session was a Washington update on government relations, where Andrew Goldberg and Shawn Patch talked about ACRA’s lobbying efforts throughout the past year. They covered developments in legislation and regulations and how the midterm elections could affect CRM. They also covered how to speak up for the industry, and how ACRA members can get involved.

The third session was an interview with the chair of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP), Sara Bronin. She started with an overview of what the ACHP and how it impacts the industry of CRM. She also explained the kinds of cases the ACHP advises on, which include cases they feel can set a precedence in the field. She also covered how recent initiatives may affect CRM, and the role of CRM firms in preserving cultural heritage.

The fourth session was on the SOI Standards task force and the recommendations they came up with for when the SOI standards are revisited. They ended up listing nine broad principles they have to guide any change in standards. The first one was to acknowledge the status quo is not an option, the standards must change. The second recognized there still needed to be standards, they do not support getting rid of them. The third asks for clarity and consistency in the new standards, recognizing it is something lacking from the current standards. The fourth asked for practical experience to be included in the standards. The fifth asks alternative pathways for qualification to be recognized, in order to include communities that may not have the resources to meet all the qualifications but have the experience. The sixth wishes to promote diversity and inclusion in the new standards. The seventh recognizes contemporary concepts of heritage and wishes the new standards will recognize heritage is not the same for everyone. The eighth asks for the full spectrum of CRM to be recognized, including disciplines outside of archaeology. The ninth asks for the SOI to have broad consultation on any changes that are made. Overall, the task force reiterated these are recommendations from ACRA to guide any changes in the SOI standards.

The fifth session discussed heritage mines as a way to store energy, specifically for storage from solar and wind projects, which is being done through Michigan Technological University’s PUSH project. Essentially, Timothy Scarlett is suggesting abandoned mines be used for pumped hydro storage, as they are already there and would take up less space than a massive surface pond for the same purpose. With this idea in mind, CRM companies can play an important role in this transformation as they are essential to the entire process.

The sixth session discussed the growth of CRM firms into middle-market firms, with the panel consisting of upper management from Chronicle Heritage. They discussed the journey of Chronicle Heritage to the middle-market, and how the growth of CRM firms like theirs can benefit the industry as a whole.

The seventh session focused on the future of CRM and the changing industry, as a way to strategically plan for these changes. This session led attendees through how to plan for changes in the industry, such as AI, remote work, and social justice. The session broke into small groups to participate in planning exercises, which were discussed at the end of the session.

The eighth session discussed academic collaboration in CRM, specifically looking at the pipeline from universities to CRM firms. With this, they discussed topics universities should teach to prepare students for CRM. They also discussed a program at Monmouth University that is creating such a pipeline from that university to local CRM firms in New Jersey where the university is located. The session then opened to questions, which led to a good discussion on what CRM firms can do to be involved with universities to help better prepare students for CRM and bring them into the industry.

The ninth session was an update from the SAA task force on employment within CRM. This session gave information on the job market and the needs of CRM for universities to meet. They discussed a recent trend in universities to cut anthropology and archaeology programs and how this could be due to administrators being unaware of the job market and opportunities in CRM, as well as the qualifications needed. The task force discusses five areas of concern on this subject and how this can be solved by both CRM companies and universities moving forward.

The tenth session discussed Airlie House and metrics on diversity. This session was an update on the Airlie House initiative, the Salary Survey, and the ACRA diversity program.

The eleventh session was a business meeting, which covered the important ACRA initiatives from the past year. This session also covered programs for the future, as well as how ACRA member firms could maximize their membership.

The twelfth session was on navigating cultural resource compliance for offshore wind. This session discussed several assessments needed for these compliance projects, as well as meetings with consulting parties and the MOA. This panel looked at challenges and best practices in the industries, as well as challenges of projects and how to deal with them.

The thirteenth session was about the role of geophysics as a tool for CRM. Within this session, the use of geophysics for phase I survey was discussed. The general usefulness of geophysics within CRM was also discussed, and those in attendance were able to ask questions and discuss their opinions on the subject. They also discussed how geophysics can be used to make a national register determination, and how they can manage sensitive sites like cemeteries.

The fourteenth session was on artificial intelligence and how it can be used within CRM. This session began with an introduction to what artificial intelligence (AI) is and some examples of programs out there today that are becoming popular, such as ChatGPT. They then gave examples of how ChatGPT could be used within the field to write reports. They did this by feeding ChatGPT images of architecture and asking it to describe them. While some of the descriptions were right, many of them were wrong and would have to be filtered too much to actually be useful. They then went into how AI could be dangerous to the field, and to be careful with the software, as the platforms are not secure enough to feed confidential information to for reports. They ended up concluding that AI may be useful for some redundant portions of CRM in the future and that it could be a very real future in the industry, but it is not quite there yet.

This session concluded the conference, with it being an overall success, not just for ACRA itself but for the IUP students in attendance. The students at IUP thank ACRA for the opportunity and hope future graduate students can attend.

An Introduction to Your Blogger

Hello everyone! My name is Laura Broughton, and I will be the one managing the blog this year as the Public Archaeology Graduate Assistant! I am a second-year graduate student in the Applied Archaeology program here and Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP), and I am excited to be taking over duties as the new Public Archaeology GA. I have a wide variety of interests in different aspects of archaeology and history, with a passion for public archaeology. I graduated from IUP with a B.A. in Anthropology with a focus on Archaeology, and a minor in Asian Studies. In my undergraduate years at IUP, I ran both the Association of Korean-Cultural Interests (AKI) and the Japanese Student Association (JAPASO). My years running AKI and JAPASO swayed my interest in archaeology towards East Asia, but if I’m being honest archeology itself is my passion. However, my experience and most of my knowledge lie in historical archaeology and historic ceramics. Due to my wide variety of interests, my master’s thesis is focusing on Chinese Diaspora Archaeology on the East Coast of the United States, where I hope to research Pittsburgh’s Chinatown. Regardless, I hope to one day use my knowledge of archaeology to teach the public and make archaeology accessible to everyone. This past summer I worked as a field technician for Environmental Design and Research (EDR), where I mainly worked on Phase I surveys on solar and wind farms. This summer taught me a lot about how archaeology is done today and made me more confident in my skills in the field. I am excited to use my variety of skills and knowledge to create blog posts throughout the year that everyone can enjoy!

Building a Career in Cultural Resource Management Archaeology

On April 5th, not only were students participating in Scholars Forum here at IUP, but we also invited students to our final Graduate Colloquium of the semester, which was a Virtual CRM Workshop. Hosted by The Eastern States Archaeological Federation Student Engagement Committee, Dr. David Leslie invited students and early career archaeologists to a presentation on applying for jobs in cultural resource management (CRM). Dr. Leslie is the Director of Archaeological Research and a Principal Investigator for Heritage Consultants, LLC in Connecticut. His goal of his presentation on Building a Career in Cultural Resource Management in Archaeology, was to provide useful advice on getting started in this growing field and provide students with more knowledge on how to advance their careers in archaeology.

The presentation began with an overview of CRM before discussing career paths. Over 90% of the archaeology that occurs in the United States is completed in a CRM setting; CRM is generally done at a faster pace than academic archaeology. There are three phases of excavation in CRM archaeology, Phase I, II, and III, but there can be many exceptions to this tradition structure. When a survey first takes place, they happen in conjunction with participating stakeholders. Stakeholders can include Federal and State recognized Native American Indian tribes, Federal Agencies, SHPO (State Historic Preservation Officer) offices, property owners, historical societies, the general public, and more. Coordination with all potential stakeholders is required both before and during each phase of the project.

During a Phase IA Survey, site identification is the main objective. It involves an assessment of a project area typically involving a bureaucratic organization (SHPO), archaeologists in CRM, and/or municipal offices, in order to identify if a parcel is archaeology sensitive. Besides excavating, soil coring is also another way to do a Phase I survey. In a Phase IB survey, one determines if an archaeological site is present within a project area, which is generally done through shovel test pit (STPs) surveys; and the presenter noted that the best surveys are done using a systematic grid survey at this stage, with judgmentally placed STPs as well. These intervals vary but are generally between 15 and 7.5 meters depending on the sensitivity and project size. The Mid-Atlantic region of the U.S. is also in feet, with intervals between 50 and 25 feet. The presenter then described Phase II surveys. They noted that during this phase, the goal is to try to determine the spatial boundaries of the site within the project area, which includes the horizontal and vertical stratigraphy of the site. To test the site at higher intervals, additional STPs, at around 5 m or 16 ft intervals, are opened, and selected excavation units (EUs) are opened, around 1×1 m or 5×5 ft in the Mid-Atlantic region. Geophysical assessments of the sites are also conducted. During the Phase II process the site will be assessed for significance at the federal, state, and local levels, which vary in their specific criteria. During the Phase III process, if the site is eligible for the National Register, or some other state or local preservation, it must be avoided by development, or the effects of the development must be mitigated. Avoidance is preferred, but not generally prudent or feasible, as infrastructure projects may outweigh preservation in place or resources. Mitigation for archaeology generally involves excavation of a site and specialized analyses of the material record. Because most sites are Eligible for the National register under Criteria D (research potential), mitigation is most common as a Data Recovery Program (DPR), typically as widescale excavations. The percentage of the site excavated may differ depending on the data recovery efforts. However, while rate, it could in clue up to 100% of the site within the project area, but more generally, anywhere between 3%-5% of the site, if a large project area, or 20-30%, if a small project area, are excavated. Sometimes DPRs include partnering with academic or for-profit labs, depending on site type, importance, funding sources, etc. Some examples include, expanding documentary or deed research, microscopic use-wear analysis, protein residue analysis, radiocarbon or OSL dating, geochemical analysis, and more. You can find published examples of DPRs in academic journals, at presentations at conferences, at public presentation, in public booklets and websites, etc. The presentation then focused on other CRM projects and tasks that can be undertaken including burial ground investigations, using GPR/Magnetometer/Resistivity/UAV, conducing architectural history assessments, battlefield surveys, and metal detecting surveys, as well.

Careers in CRM where then discussed. It was explained that most undergrads or graduate students without field experience start out as field technicians. To beef up ones resume or experience they can volunteer locally or seek out CRM firm internships. Starting out as a field technician though does provide a good, grounded perspective on field data collection, the speed of surveys, and the comradery of archaeological field crews. Basically, everyone starts out at this level. Field technicians are generally those with an undergraduate degree in anthropology or archaeology, or some related field. They need to have successfully completed and archaeological field school, local ones versus ones abroad are generally preferred by CRM companies. Most of the training as a field tech will be specific to paperwork, field techniques, and more, which will vary from company to company. The presenters commented that there are many different ways to conduct good archaeology, but these can vary between academic field schools and places you have previously worked at. While an M.A. in archaeology is certainly valuable and can aid you in a career in CRM, the presenters noted that you should not expect a supervisory position without commensurate (to the supervisory position) field experience in CRM. A field director leads a group of field technicians, ensures that the job is completed on schedule, lays out STPs and EUs for and with the crew, manages the crew in the field, conducts quality control of the excavation techniques applied by the crew, ensures that the paperwork is accurate and complete, and often has two or three years of field experiences (which is typically required as well). A project archaeologist manages several field projects, may visit sites and lead field crews, can spend more time in the field for complicated surveys (Phase II and III), writes portions or entire technical reports, conducts data analyses depending on their skill set (e.g., lithic analysis, zooarchaeological, spatial), typically needs to have several years of experience under their belt, and generally an M.A. is required.

The presentation then turned to careers in CRM. Certain skills are required, and depending on the course that you take or have access to, you can become specialized in a range of fields that align and enhance your CRM work. Training in and experience with GIS, total station or UAV surveys, human osteology, zooarchaeology, lithics analysis, historical deeds, mapping, or documentary research, geology, sedimentology, ceramic analyses, collections based work, soil flotation, artifact identification, artifact conservation, public history, art and architectural history, and more, are all skills and knowledge that would be useful to have a background in before entering a career in CRM. While many of these analyses are specialized, there may be departments or classes you can take to learn some of these skills during you time in undergrad and grad school. The presenters suggested that in undergrad you should think about minoring in GIS, geodesy (survey), geology, history, geography, remote sensing, biology, chemistry, and/or environmental studies. In grad school, they suggested that students focus on coursework in any of these fields as well.

The presenters also made suggestions for creating an appealing resume for CRM firms. They suggest that you play to your strengths, emphasize your field schools, archaeological experiences, and other related skills. You should denote your education level, list professional memberships, put in other previous jobs if light on archaeological fieldwork, and include any archaeo-specific computer programs you have experience with (e.g., artifact database intry, ArcGIS, Surfer, Metashape). They noted that it is ok if you resume is only one or two pages long at this stage, and that you should not include basic computer skills on your resume, as it is assumed that people should have these (classist, but a requirement for the job, as well).

The presenters claim that there has never been a better time to be employed in CRM, than now. They predict that the gross annual domestic spending on CRM from 2022-2031 is expected to rise from $1.46 to $1.85 billion. It is also expected that there is to be more than 11,000 jobs in CRM created in the upcoming decade, of which around 8,000 will be archaeologists. There is currently a job shortage in CRM at all stages, field technicians, crew chiefs, project archaeologists, and project managers, which has resulted in wage increases across all jobs. Field technicians in the Northeast five years ago were paid $15-16 an hour and can now expect $18-$22 depending on their experience. Per diem rates ($40-$50 per day) and mileage reimbursements are now more standard, and there are potentially higher rates in other parts of the country too. With an example position of a field tech with a B.A. and limited experience, they were expected to make around ~48K per year, from their hourly wage, per diem, and milage. Rates will continue to increase during the job crunch, and field directors and project archaeologists can expect an hourly rate of $23 or potentially higher, depending on experience.

The Zoom presentation was then opened discussion, with Heritage Consultants stating that they were hiring for field technician positions at around $18-22 an hour, and $45 a day per diem & milage. There is also another Zoom call on April 26th by the White Mountain National Forest via the New Hampshire Archaeology Society, which will discuss opportunities in archaeology centered on the different aspects of positions within federal agencies. It was a great presentation, informative and educational, and perfect for someone who needed either a refresher on CRM or just a basic overview!

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IUP at SAA

This weekend is the 88th annual Society for American Archaeology conference, held in Portland, Oregon this year. IUP is well-represented this year with our undergraduates, graduates, and professors attending and presenting in various poster sessions, paper sessions, and panels.

 We also had an ethics bowl team comprised of graduates Laura Broughton, Emma Lashley, Arthur Townend, Liz McCreary, and Emily Sykora, with Elena Frye and Victoria Albert as alternates. This team went up against one team in a double-elimination competition debating the best ethical proceedings in given case studies. Our students have been preparing for this all semester so we were proud to see them compete!

We also had a number of students present their posters in poster sessions. Kristopher Montgomery, a second-year graduate student, had a poster related to his thesis project entitled A Macroscopic Lithic Analysis of South Mountain Metarhyolite Quarries: A Focus on Intersite and Intrasite Assemblage Comparisons of the Green Cabin Site (36AD0569), South Mountain, Pennsylvania which was included in the “Rock Hard Science: Lithics Analysis Part II” poster session. Another second-year Sonja Rossi-Williams presented her poster analyzing an advocational lithic collection titled Changes in Indigenous Occupation Strategies in Eastern Pennsylvania: An Exploration of Changing Land Use at the Red Hole Site which was in the poster session entitled “Remote Sensing Part II: Geophysical Techniques.” In the same session, Arthur Townend presented a poster titled Baree Forge: A Pennsylvania Forge Town analyzing his findings from his thesis project. 

Amanda Telep was recruited to present her paper at a symposium titled “Public Lands, Public Sites: Research, Engagement, and Collaboration”. Her paper was about her thesis site which is on public lands and it was entitled “An Investigation into the Archaeological resources of Irishtown Gap Hollow”. 

Our professors also contributed to the conference through both poster and paper sessions and panels. Dr. Ben Ford presented at a symposium titled “The Future of Education and Training in Archaeology”. He talked about our Applied Archaeology MA program and how it trains students for a future in cultural resource management in his presentation titled Our Future is Applied: The Applied Archaeology MA Program at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He also contributed to a panel discussion titled “Where Are All the Archaeologists?: A Forum for Collaborative and Equitable Preparation for a Career in Resource Management.” Dr. Francis Allard presented a poster titled Glass Beads along the Early Maritime Silk Route which he presented in the poster session “The Current State of Archaeological Research Across Southeast Asia”. Finally, Dr. Lara Homsey-Messer presented a paper with colleagues Kristina Gaugler and Kevin Gubbels titled An Experimental and Ethnographic Approach to the Analysis of Fire-Cracked Rock at Three Monongahela Sites in Southwestern PA: The Case for a Middle Monongahela Stone Boiling Technology. This paper was in a symposium titled Fire-Cracked Rock: Research in Cooking and NonCooking Contexts. 

We had a great turnout of IUP conference attendees this year and we couldn’t be prouder of everyone that presented!

Celebrating National Women’s History Month: Inspiring Past and Present Female Archaeologists

This month of March is National Women’s History Month! There have been and continue to be inspiring female archaeologists that have contributed much to our understanding of history, archaeology, and the world around us! While there are many historical female archaeologists, we also seek to highlight and honor some of those within our IUP walls today that are contributing every day to our knowledge and interests about science, society, and the world.

Dr. Lara Homsey-Messer is a current IUP professor, and a geoarchaeologist with a MA in geology (2003) and PhD in archaeology (2004); both from the University of Pittsburg. After instructing and teaching at University of Pittsburg for several years, and then teaching at Murray State University in Kentucky for nine years, she began teaching at Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 2014. She teaches courses ranging from environmental archaeology and geoarchaeology, to the prehistory of North America. As an appointed Graduate Coordinator for the Applied Archaeology master’s program in 2017, she has guided students through intensive coursework and innovative thesis work. She has also contributed through her own studies and research, in journals such as the American Antiquity, Geoarchaeology, and Southeastern Archaeology. In 2019 she published Experiencing Archaeology: a Laboratory Manual of Classroom Activities, Demonstrations, and Mini-Labs for Introductory Archaeology. She is a Registered Professional Archaeologist (RPA), part of the Society for American Archaeology, and the Geological Society of America. During her time at IUP she has received the IUP President’s Recognition for Achievement in Scholarship three times (2015, 2016, & 2017). She also recently became a mother and is currently on a well-deserved sabbatical. Her work and efforts are a credit to all female archaeologists, and she deserves praise for all that she is contributing to our understanding of the past.

Dr. Andrea Palmiotto is also a current IUP professor, an archaeologist specializing in zooarchaeology, and a board-certified forensic anthropologist. She received her MA and PhD in anthropology from the University of Florida. She has worked for the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, leading field recoveries in Vietnam and Laos to analyze and identify skeletal materials belonging to US casualties from WWII, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. She has recently led an IUP forensic archaeology field school in Frankfurt, Germany to recover a American WWII B-17 aircraft crash site. She also guides students through coursework including topics on human osteology, zooarchaeology, and forensic anthropology, to name a few. Her personal research has been published in the Journal of Forensic Sciences, American Journal of Physical Anthropology, Forensic Anthropology, Journal of Archaeological Science, Southeastern Archaeology, and more. She is an RPA, and a member of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, Society for American Archaeology, Council of South Carolina Professional Archaeologists, and Southeastern Archaeology Conference, and she also serves as a technical assessor for the ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board. She recently received the highest professional certification through the American Board of Forensic Anthropology, making her one of two American Board of Forensic Anthropology Diplomates currently working in the state of Pennsylvania! She also led through 2021-2022 the formation of a digital textbook, or Open Educational Resource (OER), to be used in introductory anthropology courses; titled Introduction to Anthropology: Holistic and Applied Research on Being Human. She too has, and continues to, contribute valuable information to our knowledge about history, and is a woman deserving of recognition for all that she has accomplished.

There are many female archaeologists in the past that are now recognized as being trailblazers, some that did not get the recognition that they deserved during their time, and also many that are still alive today making incredible discoveries.

Dame Kathleen Kenyon (1906-1978) is a commonly referenced archaeologist who was the first female president of the Oxford University Archaeological Society. She developed the Wheeler-Kenyon grid method, to better understand soil layers. She became the leading English archaeologist of the Neolithic culture in the Fertile Crescent during her lifetime. Her work at Jerusalem and Jericho (excavated Tell es-Sultan 1952-1958) led to the knowledge that the ancient site of Jericho was the oldest continuously occupied settlement in history, the oldest and lowest town in the world. She served as director of the British School of Archaeology in Jerusalem and later as the principal of St. Hugh’s College at Oxford until she retired in 1973. Being in a different county other than Britain, she was able to move into positions of power, albeit through imperial links, but still positions of authority that she would most likely not have been able to occupy in the UK as a woman, giving her the opportunity to excavate new sites and contribute to history as an impressive and defining female archaeologist that led the way for more to come.

Jane Dieulafoy (1851-1916) was a French archaeologist, writer, and explorer, known for excavating the site of Susa along with her husband, in the late 1800s. She fought in the Franco-Prussian War, later traveling through Persia to Susa dressed in men’s clothes (trousers were illegal for women to wear in France during that time) with her hair cut short. She labeled, mapped, photographed, and reconstructed remains and finds, all new field recording methods for their time.

American archaeologist and anthropologist Zelia Maria Magdalena Nuttall (1857-1933) was the first to identify artifacts that dated back to the pre-Aztec period, as she specialized in pre-Aztec Mexican cultures and pre-Columbian manuscripts. She even recovered two manuscripts that were housed in private collections, essentially lost to the scientific world, one being the Codex Zouche-Nuttall.

Mary Brodrick (1858-1933) was a French woman who was initially turned away by male scholars at the Sorbonne in Paris, before she found there were no rules against studying archaeology; she became the first female student to be admitted to the prestigious institution. She became one of the first female excavators in Egypt.

Despite many barriers Maud Cunnington (1869-1951) faced as a female, such as not being able to legally own land as a married woman, she was eventually recognized for her contributions to archaeology. Along with her husband Ben Cunnington, she excavated the Neolithic burial mound at Woodhenge from 1926-1929, eventually purchasing and gifting Woodhenge and The Sanctuary (a Neolithic structure near Avebury) to the British nation. They even raised money to buy Stonehenge and the surrounding land for future public ownership. She was the first female president of the Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Society, the second women ever to be nominated as an honorary fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, and she was distinguished as a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) in 1948.

Margaret Murray (1863-1963) is also a well-recognized female archaeologist of the early 20th century. She was the first female lecturer of archaeology in the U.K., teaching at the University College London. She specialized in Egyptology and excavated in Malta, Menorca, and even Palestine.

Gertrude Bell (1868-1926), also known as the “Mother of Mesopotamian Archaeology,” was the second woman to graduate from Oxford University in the U.K. She traveled to many archaeological sites in the Middle East, along with T.E. Lawrence (“Lawrence of Arabia”), becoming one of Europe’s foremost experts on Arab culture while she was alive, while also leading digs in Syria, Iraq, and Turkey. She was also the Director of Antiquities in Iraq, founding the Iraq Archaeological Museum in Baghdad in 1926.

Harriet Boyd Hawes (1871-1945) traveled to Crete and discovered, among many other sites, Gournia, the first Minoan settlement ever unearthed. Not only did she supervise around a hundred working men and women alike, but she was also able to publish her findings in a report still referenced today.

Dorothea Bate (1878-1951) was the first women employed as a scientist by the Natural History Museum of London; cataloguing collections until she was publishing her own scientific articles and work, all while traveling the world looking for fossils. She not only discovered many new species and fossils, but she paved the way for future researchers to better identify their own paleontological discoveries.

Born in Crete, Anna Apostolaki (1881-1958) was the first woman to be a member of the Archaeological Society of Athens, one of the first female graduates from the University of Athens, and the first curator of the National Museum of Decorative Arts in 1926, where she published a catalogue on Coptic textiles. A woman with power in the age of men, she was also the founder of the Lyceum Club of Greek Women.

Gertrude Caton-Thompson (1888-1985) worked at sites in Egypt, Malta, Zimbabwe, and South Arabia. Her 1929 Zimbabwe dig was entirely excavated by women! She methodically excavated in 10×30 ft intervals and was the first archaeologist to use aerial surveys of the land to locate sites; these are methods still used today, essentially revolutionizing the way sites were studied and surveyed.

Dorothy Garrod (1892-1968) was the first female professor at Cambridge and led excavations at 23 sites throughout seven countries. Her work uncovered the first evidence of the Middle Stone Age and the first evidence of dog domestication. She led an incredible all-female excavation team at Mount Carmel that discovered the Tabun Neanderthal fossils. Another female of note that was active in this excavation was Yusra, a local Palestinian village woman, who actually pulled the single tooth from a sieve that led to the identification of Tabun 1. Yusra has now been credited by the Smithsonian for her find!

Tessa Verney Wheeler (1893-1936) was a British archaeologist, who along with her husband, Mortimer Wheeler, led excavations, such as the at the Iron Age hill fort at Maiden Castle, at which she was instrumental in gathering funding from the public due to her advocacy work. Wheeler and her husband were some of the first to film of their excavations to bring them to the public. She instructed many other female archaeologists on excavation techniques, her scientific approach to archaeology, and the recordation of small finds; these include Kathleen Kenyon, Beatrice de Cardi, Veronica Seton-Williams, Ione Gedye, Molly Cotton, and Egyptologist Margaret Drower. She also aided in the development of the Institute of Archaeology in London.

German mathematician Maria Reiche (1903-1998) studied the Nazca Lines of Peru in 1940, showed their mathematical accuracy, and suggested that they were related to astronomy. This brought more attention to these ancient areas, and by demonstrating their significance it aided in their preservation and protection.

Lady Aileen Fox (1907-2005) was one of the first female lecturers in archaeology, working at University College of the Southwest at Exter. The Richborough Roman Fort was the site of her first excavation, where she later developed a small museum on the site without training, as during her time there was little training available on how to do so. While struggling to create a new archaeology department at the University, Fox fought to show the world the value of archaeology, and all it has to offer.

Russian Tatiana Proskouriakoff (1909-1985) was an architect-turned-Mayan architecture and hieroglyphic interpreter. She produced reconstructions of Mayan architecture through plans and drawings. She was also the first to suggest that Mayan hieroglyphs contained dynastic histories, as well as calendrical information, which led to the decipherment of many hieroglyphs.

Jacquetta Hawkes (1910-1996) was focused on pioneering public archaeology, after digging in England, Ireland, and even Palestine. Her approach to interpreting archaeological evidence was more humanistic, leading to her suggestion that the Minoan society could have been ruled by women. She applied public archaeology techniques, spreading her theory by using newspapers, books, TV interviews, and even through the radio.

North American archaeologist Hannah Marie Wormington (1914-1994) was the second woman admitted by Harvard University’s anthropology department, and by the age of 24 she began publishing her textbooks, one of which, the Ancient Man in North America, was the standard on the subject for quite some time. She excavated sites and rock shelters across Colorado and Utah. She was also the first curator of archaeology at what is now the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. Cynthia Irwin-Williams (1936-1990) was a protégé of Wormington’s; she led the first archaeological excavations of the Valesquillo Reservoir area in Mexico. She also led projects in Nevada, Wyoming, New Mexico, and more.

Honor Frost (1917-2010) was a leading female in the underwater archaeology world. She applied her diving skills to expand excavations and reconstructions of submerged shipwrecks. After training under Kathleen Kenyon in Jericho she worked at sites in Lebanon, then later led dives and excavations of sites and shipwrecks in the Mediterranean. Her discoveries include the lost palace of Alexander and Ptolemy in the Port of Alexandria.

Lithuanian Marija Gimbutas (1921-1994) became a professor of Archaeology at University of California after her family emigrated. Maria studied female figurines, and the Baltic Neolithic and Bronze societies, and also developed the ‘Kurgan hypothesis’ (an Indo-European region migration hypothesis). She wrote three books focused on the civilization of goddesses of ‘old Europe,’ and while some of her ideas have been challenged, her interpretive work on material culture, social organization, and religious practices have led to new research and approaches.

Gudrun Corvinus (1932-2006) was not only an archaeologist, but also a paleontologist and geologist, excavating sites throughout Africa and Asia, contributing to both vertebrate paleontology and Paleolithic archaeology. She was part of the team that discovered the 3.2 million years old Australopithecus afarensis “Lucy” skeleton. While working in Ethiopia in 1974, she was the first person to find the Gona archaeological deposits, which included the oldest known stone artefacts in the world.

Another female archaeologist that not much is known about, but should be, is Gussie White, one of many African American women digging and laboring at the Irene Mound project in Georgia in 1937. Gussie spoke Gullah, and she even attended the Tuskeegee Normal School for women, which trained her as an educator and clerical worker, before the mound project. As an African American and a woman, she was not given the credit she deserved for her efforts and under the Works Progress Administration, she was paid little for her work (around 12 dollars a week). Today, her and others are beginning to be recognized for their contributions to history. Her efforts and those of other female African Americans will be remembered.

All of these women have made priceless contributions to the world of archaeology, and their names deserve to be known and recognized. Along with our IUP professors, there are other female archaeologists from many corners of the globe, working hard to continue to pave the way for anyone to become an archaeologist and find their place in the world of archaeology.

Shahina Farid was born in London to parents who emigrated from Pakistan. After studying archaeology at the University of Liverpool, she worked at sites in Turkey, Bahrain, London, and the United Arab Emirates, publishing over 40 scientific articles. She was also field director of the Çatalhöyük project for around twenty years, instructing and managing over 200 scientists, students, and volunteers from around the world at the 7,500 B.C. to 5,700 B.C. Neolithic and Chalcolithic settlement in Anatolia.

Dr. Alicia Odewale is an assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Tulsa, focusing on archaeology of the African Diaspora in the Caribbean and Southeastern United States. A member of the Society of Black Archaeologists, her work focuses on community-oriented, Black feminist archaeology. She has worked on sites in St. Croix of the Virgin Islands, researching archaeological sites related to Afro-Caribbean heritage, but she has also researched sites in Oklahoma, Virginia, Arkansas, and Mississippi. She also serves as a co-creator of the Estate Little Princess Archaeological Field School that instructs local students on archeological skills, and as director of the Historical Archaeology and Heritage Studies Laboratory at TU.

Swedish-Somali archaeologist Dr. Sada Mire has a PhD from UCL’s Institute of Archaeology. She is the founder and executive director of the Horn Heritage Organization and is currently an assistant professor of archaeology at Leiden University. Her 2014 TEDxEuston talk focused on the need for cultural heritage. She has recently been active in the Horn of Africa, working to preserve its heritage by establishing the Department of Tourism and Archaeology in Somaliland, creating a digital museum that features Somali cultural materials and objects, and by teaching archaeological method to the local African people so they can carry out their own work.

Dame Rosemary Cramp was born in 1929 and is still alive today. She was the first female professor for Durham University, leading a team that excavated Jarrow Abbey, the home of Saint Bede, which recovered some of the earliest stained glass in Britain. She is currently working on the Corpus of Anglo-Saxon Stone Sculpture, a research project seeking to document early sculptures in a systematic manner across the whole of England; the Corpus stands as the only existing record for several pieces of art. She was one of the first Trustees of the British Museum and one of the first Commissioners for English Heritage.

Kathleen O’Neal Gear is both an American archaeologist and well-known writer. She is a former state historian and archaeologist for Wyoming, Kansas, and Nebraska. She has received two Special Achievement Awards from the U.S. Department of the Interior for her work in archaeology, as well as a Spur Award for Best Historical Novel of the West. She has also received the Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition from the U.S. Congress, an Owen Wister Award for western literature, and she was even inducted into the Western Writers Hall of Fame.

Susan Greaney, a Fellows of the Society of Antiquaries (FSA), is a British archaeologist focusing on the study of British prehistory. She is a Senior Properties Historian with English Heritage. In 2019 she was named a BBC New Generation Thinker and she was also elected as a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London. She has conducted archaeological research and content development for sites such as Stonehenge, Tintagel Castle, and Chysauster ancient village.

Theresa Singleton is an African American archaeologist who focuses on the African Diaspora in, and historical archaeology of, North America. She was the first African American recipient of the Society of Historical Archaeology’s highest honor, the J.C. Harrington Award. She is currently an author and associate professor at Syracuse University, teaching anthropology and historical archaeology.

American classical archaeologist Joan Breton Connelly is a professor of Classics and Art History at New York University. She is also currently the director of the Yeronisos Island Excavations and Field School in Cyprus, and she is even an honorary citizen of the Municipality of Peyia, Republic of Cyprus. She received a MacArthur Fellowship in 1996, the Archaeological Institute of America Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award in 2007, and the Lillian Vernon Chair for Teaching Excellence at NYU from 2002-2004.

Archaeologist and Egyptologist Sarah Parcak uses remote sensing and satellite imaging to focus on locating potential sites in Rome, Egypt, and other areas formerly occupied by the Roman Empire. While working as a professor of Anthropology and director of the Laboratory for Global Observation at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, she also works with her husband to direct projects in the Sinai, Faiyum, and Egypt’s East Delta.

There have been many incredible female archaeologists, and more continue to work hard and inspire the next generation even today. A great resource for more information on female archaeologists is the TrowelBlazer organization, https://trowelblazers.com, which shares the contributions of women and other underrepresented groups studying archaeology, geology, and paleontology, and also provides resources for them. This month, remember those who overcame incredible odds, faced many obstacles, and challenged adversity, all in their pursuit for historical truths, recognition, and especially for their passion of archaeology.

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References:

https://www.europeana.eu/en/blog/groundbreaking-women-in-archaeology

https://www.sapiens.org/archaeology/first-female-archaeologists/

https://ulasnews.com/2021/03/08/women-in-archaeology/ndigventures.com/2015/03/pioneering-women-in-archaeology/

https://www.sapiens.org/archaeology/pioneering-female-archaeologists/

https://www.history.co.uk/articles/the-most-inspirational-female-archaeologists-from-history

https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/learn/histories/women-in-history/six-groundbreaking-female-archaeologists/

https://www.ranker.com/list/famous-female-archaeologists/reference

https://www.livescience.com/62086-pioneering-women-archaeologists.html

Cultural Resource Management on the Allegheny National Forest: A Graduate Colloquium

On March 8th we had two special guests join us for our first Graduate Colloquium of the semester. Mr. Andrew Myers, MA, RPA and Patricia Stahlman, MS, visited to present and discuss Cultural Resource Management on the Allegheny National Forest in 2023. They sent bios which are below, so you can better understand who they are and what they do.

Mr. Andrew Myers, MA, RPA is an archaeologist with the USDA Forest Service stationed out of the Marienville Ranger District in western Pennsylvania. He began his archaeological career in 1982 working for Dr. Stanley Lantz of the Carnegie Museum at the multicomponent Penelec (36WA152) site located near Warren, Pennsylvania. It was during this time he learned excavation technique at a Late Paleoindian though Contact period site that was also the location of a stockade Mead Island tradition village. During his career he has worked on numerous projects throughout the Mid-Atlantic region before returning to the Forest Service in 2017. His research interests include Late Woodland ceramics and has extensively studied Glaciated Allegheny Plateau (GAP) tradition archaeology with an interest in the McFate phase (circa. AD 1400-1590).

Patricia Stahlman, MS has over 20 years of experience in cultural resource management, much of that with the Forest Service. During her time on the Allegheny National Forest she has managed Section 106 compliance projects covering thousands of acres of federal lands and recorded and/or investigated hundreds of cultural sites. Projects have included Phase I surveys, Phase II evaluations, and Phase III data recovery. Patricia’s research interests include the history and pre-history of the Upper Ohio River Valley, particularly within the Clarion River and Tionesta Creek drainage basins.

To summarize, the presentation provided an overview of the cultural resource management program effected on the Marienville Ranger District of the Allegheny National Forest (ANF).  Any ground disturbing activity is subject to federal law which dictates agencies must take into account the effects of their actions on historic properties.  Each year in response to a host of projects including timber sales, oil and gas development, and recreation, varying degrees of archaeological investigation are implemented including surveys, evaluations, and data recovery.  Recent projects conducted on the District that were discussed included two Phase I block surveys and a Phase III data recovery project held at a Civil War era house site.  At the end of the presentation a discussion on obtaining federal jobs was also presented for students preparing to enter the workforce.

The presentation also covered the legal framework that goes into working for the Forest Service, how a project gets started, predictive modeling, large block surveys, what a Phase I survey and types finds in the Allegheny Forest would look like, along with how sites might be located, followed by examples of recent projects they are currently working on, and finished with a discussion on opportunities with the Forest Service. My favorite part was when Mr. Myers talked about site indicators and what the remnants of a historical site could look like if one does not know if one is there; such as a random opening in a forest, the presence of apple trees, or heirloom flowers which could potentially the remains of a historic garden near a former house site. Students were able to get a taste of what working for the Allegheny National Forest is like, and they were able to make connections with those who have been involved in it for years. We are so grateful that we had the opportunity to learn from and discuss with Myers and Stahlman about the important work they are doing within the Forest Service.

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Middle Atlantic Archaeological Conference 2023

Last weekend, March 9-12 was the Middle Atlantic Archaeological Conference held in Ocean City, Maryland. I was able to attend amazing sessions, panels, and student events and this was the first archaeology conference that I have presented at which was a great accomplishment as well. I arrived bright and early on Friday to attend a session on the Archaeology of Schools and Education in the Mid-Atlantic. This session included presentations on marbles and writing slates and how they can be analyzed to understand what students were learning and how they were learning it. There was also a brilliant presentation on the way we talk about Black schools and education. The presenter showed examples of exhibits and written reports that devalue black intelligence and education by not exploring what they were taught thoroughly and frankly being lazy when analyzing artifacts related to black schools.

 

The second session of the day was entitled Archaeology of and for Native Peoples of the Mid-Atlantic. The papers in these sessions included a comparative analysis of projectile points from three sites around the same area in Maryland and a look into a middle woodland site in Delaware that was found during compliance for a road widening. There was also a very entertaining talk about cupules, which I have never heard of, that were found on the Roanoke River by archaeologists who were kayaking in the area. Cupules are depressions in rock that resemble an inverse spherical cap or dome and in this instance might be a marker from the indigenous groups of the region. 

 

The final session of the day was Case Studies in Community-Based Archaeology which was fascinating and definitely inspired me for future community-based projects that I will help organize. There were too many good papers to list and I am amazed at how much Mid-Atlantic archaeologists have taken communities into account during their projects. Collaboration and communication with stakeholders were big themes at this conference. I am excited to see how these themes grow in the next few years as community archaeology becomes the norm. 

 

There were also a lot of great student committee events that I was able to participate in all weekend. The first was a networking event where professionals sat at round tables and each group of students circled around to each person to learn more about their careers and how they became professional archaeologists. This was a great event to meet people that you could then find later to network with. There was also a coffee hour and “archaeolympics” which was a series of archaeology activities that allowed students to talk with each other and talk about their experience in archaeology and career plans. These were great events that really helped build connections as you met a lot of people. 

 

This year’s plenary, or keynote, speaker was Dr. Alexandra Jones, founder of archaeology in the community. She holds many positions in a variety of archaeological and cultural resource management environments but she mainly focused on her work bringing archaeology to D.C. and surrounding communities. Her central theme was her effort to bring sustainable archaeology into her practice as a way to empower different communities. She cites her work at the Estate Little Princes Archaeological Project in St. Croix, US Virgin Islands as a way that she could try this method in an isolated environment. She runs a field school where previous year’s participants are paid crew chiefs and TAs and she ensures that they all have a say in what happens to their cultural resources. Sustainable archaeology is one of the best ways of ensuring we have meaningful connections with our community partners where they benefit as much as we do. It was clear from the rousing applause and many questions, that the other members of the conference were just as excited about this idea as she was. 

 

The rest of the conference passed in a blur and I heard some amazing presentations and discussions in panels that really made me think about the future of archaeology and where I could fit in. Conferences are great because they make people feel connected to other researchers in a visceral way and can help produce new and amazing ideas through sharing different approaches and methods. I know I am brimming with a new appreciation for Middle-Atlantic archaeology and I am looking forward to next year!